I've never been to a high school or college reunion. I did once go to a reunion of my small elementary school class, and it was pretty cool. However, I can imagine that the sentiments felt at a reunion are probably awfully strange. Likely less-so strange with today's modern social media, but imagine only ten-or-so years ago, you'd go to a reunion just totally blind of who was coming and what to expect. Whoa, there's that person you crushed on BIG time junior year. I used to be BEST friends with these guys? This gym seemed a lot smaller. Alcohol is good.
It would be a mix of emotions that I'm sure I could stomach but I can't necessarily predict. Speaking of stomachs, today Franklin Gutierrez made his 2015 reunion/debut with the Seattle Mariners and I'm sure it felt like he never left. Just like I'd imagine a reunion going, Franklin probably felt an ever-changing tide of emotions.
Decades later first-impressions:
This is the part of the reunion where everything felt shiny and new to Guti. He was back in Seattle, sure, but look at those new LED lights! The screen is bigger, Edgar is now not just a guy who designed a taco menu for the restaurant in left field but his hitting instructor. Nelson Cruz showed up. Roenis Elias would toe the rubber. And man, he did a mighty fine job of that to start the affairs of the evening.
Through the first hour, or three innings of his outing, Roenis was perfect. Nine Kansas City Royals went up, and nine went right back down. This is what Guti had wanted to do to those bullies from freshman year for almost twenty years now! Elias was changing his arm slots, not only on that now-infamous curveball, but also doing so with his fast ball. Here are couple of times where Roenis struck out players for the American League All Star Team.
Hello. This is a baseball. Good bye.
As an All Star, you should be able to hit a fastball but Roenis Elias knows you cannot.
Notice how the second fastball comes from the 3/4 arm slot, whereas strikes one and three are both straight over the top. Sure, Elias was locating a little too middle, but he was touching the bottom and top of the zone, it seemed all very harmless. He made it through the first three innings on 26 pitches of perfection. Elias was touching 94 with the fastball, strong for his typical stuff. Guti felt like, I don't know, maybe high school was way cooler than he remembered.
Hell, Kyle Seager even did a cool dance move to "Mambo Number 5".
Unlike Pitbull, I don't mind if this becomes a repeat performance.
Our hero, Franklin, was feeling so good by the bottom of the third, so comfortable at the reunion, that he even checked in with his own little piece of magic.
Reality sets in:
But it was in the top of the 4th that the novelty wore off. Franklin's new-old friend Roenis stopped making the reunion feel so fun. The perfecto bid was swiftly ruined by an Escobar single to right, followed by a two-run, golf-shot homerun by Mike Moustakas just over the right field fence. Before anyone at the party knew it, Franklin was having a much less-fun evening. Roenis would convince Kendrys Morales to popout, because face it, he owes us, and then something weird happened. Roenis, clearly shaken, lost command. A single, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and before you could say "VIDAL NUNO PLEASE WARM UP!" Omar Infante roped a bases-clearing double down the left field line. In an attempt to find his location, Elias instead found the middle-middle of the plate. Of course, another double would follow, Elias would be removed, another double would follow off of Nuno and before we could say "Wow, this got out of hand quickly," the M's were down 7-0. It was the middle of the fourth, but it might as well have been end of the ninth.
It all sorta felt like...well. Well this:
Sorry, Guti. High school wasn't that cool and there's a reason all these people are here and not with their real-life friends at a bar drinking Bees Knees and playing Jenga.
Come on, man, this is fun:
Franklin had old friends at the reunion though, and they noticed he wasn't having the best time. So, they tried to rally him a bit. In the bottom of the fifth, after a Mike Zunino foul out to the catcher, Brad Miller singled to center, followed by Austin Jackson doing the same but to right field. Brad scooted on to third, doing his classic crazy-legs dancing, and Guti acknowledged his efforts with a sacrifice fly lifted to right. Robinson Cano, a kid who Guti remembered as being The Dude back in school, showed that form of his old self by smashing a single in to left. Nelson Cruz then scored Austin on a ball hit so hard at the shortstop that calling it an error on the short hop would seem a little unfair. But life's unfair so here's an error, you whiny, little druid. Two runs in the bottom of the fifth when it was all said and done. And that was pretty much all the fun Guti would have all night.
Some of Guti's old buddies even showed the sprightliness of their youth, trying to get Guti to do the same and find his fun zone.
Brad checked in with a fun little shimmy. I swear, this almost pulled Guti out on the dance floor.
As if that wasn't enough! Guti's old pals were really pulling for him to have a good time.
Just leave because it hurts:
It just wasn't to be though. The Royals would tack on another run in the seventh, and the M's just couldn't string together enough hits to mount anything resembling a comeback. They lost 8-2. The cool guys were still cooler than him, the nerds were the nerds, even that one guy who was weirdly in to "restoring classic cars" was still really in to that. For all we know, he hasn't actually done it, though. He drove to the damn thing in a Kia Sportage.
And I guess that's the problem with reunions. It's probably only fun if you had fun the first time around, otherwise, what's really going to change? Sure, Kyle has a few new wrinkles in his lizard-like head, Felix has like seventeen more tattoos, and the WhAck-it lady still meanders around the left field foul pole, but what's to be gained here? The M's lost 8-2 and Franklin Gutierrez had exactly the reunion he should have expected. He spent more on beer this time, too.
(Mikey Z had a 2-4 evening at the plate...shhhhhh...stay hot, buddy)